Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Coast Starlight



My mother has a brain tumor and recently it became inflamed which was causing her to fall down a lot.



A couple of weeks ago I jumped on Amtrak's Coast Starlight train at Oakland to help out over a long weekend.



The train trip was during a break in our welcome February rains that have been staving off a full-blown California drought.



The trip couldn't have been more beautiful and it was absurdly cheap, $32 for a one-way ticket from Oakland to San Luis Obispo, and for the first time in my experience, the southbound train was actually on time.



Traveling on a train is one of the more sensual experiences in the world, as much as traveling on ships, both with their constant motion and rocking.



Fellow passengers were an amusingly eccentric lot and lunch in the diner felt like a flashback to another time. I shared the meal with three strangers, including the delightful Noe Valley woman above who had just lost her job and was taking advantage of it by visiting an old friend in Los Osos.



The young man above was creating his own documented train trip...



...and seemed to be having a blast.



My mother's getting surgery tomorrow to shunt fluid from her brain to her stomach which should take the pressure off and help her recover for a while.

Update: My mother came through the surgery just fine, and I'm sure it had everything to do with the kind wishes and prayers from all of you. Thank you.

13 comments:

janinsanfran said...

Yes -- prayers ascending, Mike.

Monica said...

SFMike -- We're coming to S.F. and I can't find your card. Can you contact me on my private e-mail address? -- Monica

Kit Stolz said...

All the best to your mom...and thanks for the intro to the train, which I've never taken, but now think I should...

tangobaby said...

My best wishes for you and your mom. Thank you for sharing those images. My bf just took a train trip to Chicago and loved every mile of it.

momo said...

You and your mother are in my thoughts, and I'm wishing her well.

Jon said...

Mike Prayers for your mom and thanks for the train story. I will be visiting friends in Seattle next month, and couldn't make up my mind if I wanted to drive, fly or take the train. I've loved the train in the past, but I've been hearing bad things about Amtrak. I'm tired of driving, it couldn't possibly be worse than flying and you summed up all of the simple joys of train travel.

Matty Boy said...

Best wishes to your mom, mike.

I took the train south this summer, from Goleta to Riverside. It's a lovely trip. Your observation about the sensuality makes the trip make more sense now, as the fortysomething conductor was hitting on a couple of twentysomething cuties sitting behind me for much of the trip.

Pura Vida said...

Sending my thoughts and prayers to you and your mom today.

namastenancy said...

I'm sending my prayers and healing thoughts to your mom. Take care of yourself as well in these difficult times and don't hesitate to call (or e-mail) me if there's anything I can do.

The Opera Tattler said...

My best wishes to your mother. I hope things go well.

rootlesscosmo said...

Best wishes to your Mom and to you too. (Tried to post this Tuesday but messed up.)

Is that the Cuesta Grade north of San Luis Obispo in the last photo? Beautiful stretch of railroad.

sfmike said...

Dear rootless: Yes, that is Cuesta Grade.

Monica said...

SFMike -- Just caught up with this post. Somehow my comment ended up here without me reading it the first time. I'm so glad your Mom pulled through. Beautiful, bittersweet post! Please disregard my seeming insensitivity. Best, Monica